Saturday, September 1, 2007

Only Hope

A storm blew through here last night, violent and raging for all of about ten minutes. It brought strong gusts of wind that pelted the house with dirt and refuse--anything that wasn’t tied down--but then blew the dirt and refuse away. It was quick, but it had our strict attention. This morning the air is still and calm and clean, a crisp 61 degrees. Not a cloud to be seen.
I can relate.
Thank you. Thank you for all the advice and the encouragement, the wisdom and the friendship. What a week. I’ve had much to ponder with all the blog posts and e-mails that were sent--the good, the bad, and the ugly. This morning I feel as still and as calm and as clean as I ever have.
Here are some things that I know. I know there is a song inside of me. I know that song is part of a beautiful symphony, orchestrated by a Musician so amazing and so talented, with such genius. He is forever writing my part, new and fresh every morning. He composes. I sing. Without Him, I am without purpose. Without me, He is silent. He breathes life into me, and I am His expression. To deny this would be an abandonment, a betrayal, of all that I know. I know this because I remember the dirge I used to sing. It was the only song I knew. Now I sing His music, and my life is in tune.
I also know that recent events, and all my events, have been orchestrated by my Conductor. The opportunity to teach which came in the eleventh hour is a beautiful, syncopated melody, uniquely mine, surprising with its new rhythm. My free and clear and permanent teaching license is the counterpoint melody. And the joy that I am experiencing is the harmony that my song has been lacking for a year.
I can’t deny it. I can’t shut my ears from it, or my heart. I won’t be dissuaded from singing my part. I won’t lead a life of quiet desperation, and I won’t take my song with me to the grave. And I won’t apologize to those who don’t like the lyrics or the tune. It’s my song. My Muse, my Teacher, my Father has given it to me to be sung, not just to be notes on a page in His Music Book.
I am a hope-giver. It’s not just what I do. It’s who I am. And all I have to really do is simply be who I am. Every day. I’ve been discouraged by having to sing a song so eternal with such a fragmented, broken sound system. I likened teaching to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, a doomed and sinking ship. So I jumped off that boat. Into what? A swirling sea of fragmented, broken systems. The whole earth is the Titanic, and everything in it. And in my frustration, I forgot something very, very, very important: I’m not from here. I’m just trying to get home and spread some hope along the way.
I remember teaching in the ghetto in Las Vegas. It seemed everyone knew my eighth graders were hoodlums except for me. (And I say that with all affection.) To me they were just my kids. Mi ninos. Mi corazon. Mi vida. I used to make them hold out their hands in a little cup whenever they would say something negative about their futures. I would come by and drop some “hope” into their hands. I’d say, “Here, you need some hope,” and I would literally cup my hands over theirs and drop the hope in. To an outsider, it might have looked like there was really nothing in our hands and we were just pretending. But I’m here to tell you, I was IN that classroom with those kids, and there was nothing pretend about it. After I gave them their little measure of hope, I would hold their cupped hands in mine and I’d say, “Now be careful with it. It’s very valuable. Don’t drop it.”
“I won’t,” they’d say.
“And don’t lose it.”
“I won’t.”
And of course, they did. They’d drop it. They’d lose it. They’d throw it back in my face. It felt weird to them. You’d think it would feel good, but it didn’t at first. Too foreign. Too different. Not comfortable at all. Sometimes the brave ones would hold on to it. At least for a little while. But no worries. My mercies were new every morning, and I had bountiful, plentiful, and abundant hope for them from a Source Who springs eternal. I just gave them what I had in my hands to give because that is what was given to me. Hope. It is the best of things.
Two years later, my last year at that school, one of those eighth graders came to visit me. As hard as it was to admit, I actually had to concede that this particular girl was, in fact, a hoodlum. (Again, I say that with all affection.) This girl could sass me like nobody’s business in two different languages. And don’t think for a minute I didn’t keep right up with her. Rough girl. She was five foot even, and believe me, you wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alley. No one messed with her. Well, except for me, of course. I gave that girl hope more times than anyone else in all my classes combined. When I say she threw it back in my face, she did! It was ugly. She WAS the storm, violent and raging, blowing the dirt and all the refuse--anything that wasn’t nailed down--against my house. Thank God I was nailed down. Crucified, even. And now here she was--standing right in front of me. Calm and still and clean. She said she hadn’t been in trouble for over a year. Her grades were all above “C” level and she really wanted to graduate, so she broke up with her boyfriend because he had dropped out and was bringing her down. And when she left, she looked back and told me one more thing. As she stood by the door to leave, she put her hands out in a little cup and said, “Miss, I still have my hope.” She smiled. And she was gone.
I don’t always get to know where my kids end up. I can certainly relate to the guys in the Old Testament who had hope for a promise they’d never see in this fragmented, broken system. But they seemed to remember that they weren’t from here either.
I think I’ll look back on this past year and call it one of the most valuable I’ve ever had. I have so many more songs now in my repertoire.

Here’s one for my Maestro:

There’s a song that’s inside of my soul
It’s the one that I’ve tried to write over and over again
I’m awake in the infinite cold
But You sing to me over and over and over again
So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I know now You’re my Only Hope

Sing to me the song of the stars
Of Your galaxies dancing and laughing and laughing again
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again
So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I know now You’re my Only Hope

I give You my destiny
I’m giving You all of me
I want Your symphony singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs
I’m giving it all
So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I know now You’re my Only Hope


Anonymous said...


Could you be any more AMAZING!!! I love your blog today! I swear, if everyone in this world had a teacher, friend or someone that walked through our lives like you this world would be a much happier place!!! You have changed so many lives, including mine and I have no idea what I would do without you!! I love you so much! I think the decision you made is going to bring you many rewards!!!

Miss Paula said...

Dear Daisy,

I love that my old Daisy is back!!! We were worried about you! I am so glad that you are loving what you are doing... Heavenly Father has it all planned out... He knew that He had to give you time to "throw your tantrum". (before you would come around and submit to his will.) I have no doubt... He has great plans for you! You are too strong of a spirit to just "Be here"...We love you soooooooooooooooo much! Sean-Martin and Geoff, too!!!

P.S. Marissa HAS to E-mail you those songs!!!! They go with the theme of your last blog SO well!!!! (and they remind me of you every time I hear them.) XOXOX


Marie said...

What a beautiful gift you have given your ninos... tu vida...

They were lucky to have such an inspiring person in their lives, and God is lucky to have you on HIs team...take care my friend.